Oeufs en Cocotte, Alba Truffle, and King Oyster Mushrooms

Some supper dishes are so simple that they should be saved until you have some really special ingredients - oeufs en cocotte (baked eggs) are the perfect example.  A quick tour of the fridge reveals lovely Legbar eggs, the remains of an alba truffle from Christmas, and king oyster mushrooms.  Baked together like this it's not a supper dish but a feast...

Chicken Casserole with Fennel, Lemon, Garlic and Mushrooms

I've no idea where this idea came from, as I'd originally intended to make a chicken chasseur.   When I opened the fridge though, I had an excellent head of fennel, amazing lemons, some beautiful pink garlic and some of my new favourite king oyster mushrooms. It reminded me of one of my absolute favourite summer lunches - finely sliced fennel, served with a garlic and lemon dressing, and seared chicken breasts which have been marinated in garlic and lemon juice.  I think it just seemed logical to give it a go...

Sous Vide Fillet of Beef

The sous-vide dish which I prepare most often is actually fillet of beef for a Sunday lunch... Most of my children are addicted to rare beef, but heaven forbid you get it anywhere beyond that and they'll turn into the biggest critics on the planet.  Given that I'm cooking for six, and that they usually also demand chicken too, or salmon, it's actually very easy to end up going over by five minutes!  Consequently one of the first things I learnt to do with my water bath was rare beef...

Gordon Ramsay's Baked Spice Porridge

My predictable January health kick survives* - we've reached the 5th - and although it's a Sunday morning, I've managed to stall breakfast long enough to make baked porridge.  I'd caught this recipe earlier in the week on Ramsay's show, and located the recipe online.  I have to say, it's so much nicer than perhaps it sounds!  Forget that oats are a good source of soluble fibre, help reduce cholesterol, and provide an invaluable source of manganese and non-meat protein - this thing tastes yummy too!

CakePops are Dead! Long live the MallowPop!

We've all made cake pops - good grief - what a bore!

For starters, who really wants a mouthful of dry cake, mixed with sickly sweet buttercream?  Then there's the fact that they take soooo long to make, fall off if you make them too big, or include too much buttercream... No, no.  The cakepop is dead.

Puy lentil salad, with roasted vegetables and king oyster mushrooms

It's inevitable, as predictable as the rising sun - come the first of January and we all feel the call of the detox. I've been craving lentils ever since I caught the Nigel Slater show over Christmas - his dish of warm lentil salad, horseradish and rare beef chimed somewhere with my overloaded palate... However I really wanted to make it meat-free, and to incorporate some roasted king oyster mushrooms. The mushrooms are meaty enough - they're perfect for roasting and absorb the flavour of anything they're dressed in.  I coated them in porcini oil, and salt and pepper and roasted them for around 30 minutes.

Christmas Stuffing

Food bloggers record their recipes for a variety of reasons - sometimes we've learnt something that we'd like to share with others, for example the correct range to maintain a gel for Meat Fruit - and on other occasions it really is just a gigantic aide-mémoire!  The more mundane recipes on my blog are in reality the ones I use the most - they make their way onto here so that no matter where I am, I can turn to them time and again...

Butter Poached Lobster (sous vide), with Girolles and Hazelnuts

Girolles and hazelnuts are just the most glorious combination - both sweet, nutty and earthy, they complement each other well.  The lobster was actually just a vehicle for the girolles, and it could just as easily have been baked squash I made last week, or any number of roasted vegetables.

Girolles are a beautiful colour - they look (and are said to smell) like apricots.  They generally grow in a group together, and are best picked a few days after rain, to allow a decent amount of growth.

Braised Ox Cheek

In January I found myself tucking into a braised ox-cheek, in the middle of a horrific snow storm.  We were in Cheltenham to shoot, a shoot which would subsequently be called off due to 5ft snow drifts. We'd lunched at the fabulous Le Champignon Sauvage and were supposed to have an early dinner in the dining room at the Ellenborough hotel.  With the storm raging around us however, the chef had abandoned us in a fit of pique - apparently he had set up for a conference of two hundred people, and the whole thing had been cancelled at the last moment.

Sweetcorn Fritters

It must be autumn, I'm craving all manner of autumnal veg, from pumpkin to sweetcorn, and every variety of squash and mushroom I can find.  I genuinely think we eat too much meat in our diets, and there is no reason not to have a delicious warm lunch, where the star is the vegetable.

One of my favourites is sweetcorn fritters - but I tend to mix an additional ingredient in, just to add a little variety.  Today's variation was raw orange pepper.  I love raw peppers, but some people find it indigestible, so you could add anything else you fancy.  Crab perhaps? Always delicious. Spring onions? Grated courgettes?